A vision for the game: La Salle's Ramon Galloway and his blind father

Vision for the game, feel for family: Ramon Galloway got a waiver to transfer so he could be near grandfather Carlus Moore, father, Gerald, and mother, Karen Davis.
Vision for the game, feel for family: Ramon Galloway got a waiver to transfer so he could be near grandfather Carlus Moore, father, Gerald, and mother, Karen Davis. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: March 21, 2013

La Salle senior Ramon Galloway had just brought down the house with a thunderous dunk, and his father, Gerald, sitting in Tom Gola Arena, was in his glory.

The elder Galloway is as enthusiastic as the rest of the Explorers faithful, even though he must sense the play instead of watching it.

Gerald Galloway has been blind since 1993 after being shot in a dispute in Tioga. He said the shooter died before the case went to trial, but it illustrates the rough-and-tumble life that both the elder Galloway and his son have experienced.

Yet, as Ramon Galloway has led La Salle to its first NCAA appearance since 1992 and Wednesday's play-in game against Boise State in Dayton, Ohio, his exploits have brought joy to the family, one that has stuck together despite a lion's share of adversity.

And nothing is more pleasing for Gerald Galloway than attending his son's games.

"I can tell when Ramon is making a great play, especially when he dunks," said his father, who is a fixture at home games and also attended La Salle's 69-58 Atlantic Ten quarterfinal loss to Butler on Friday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. "What Ramon has done has been very inspiring."

Indeed, Ramon Galloway is a 6-foot-3, first-team all-conference senior who has averaged 17.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. He is also a demon on defense.

"He never lets being blind hinder him, and he is always doing stuff on his own," Ramon said of his father. "That's why he is such a strong-willed and great person."

The son is amazed at his father's ability to get around.

"He is so smart that he remembers numbers off the bat, and they stay with him," Ramon said. "If you drive with him and get lost, he can take you anywhere."

Ramon Galloway grew up in Germantown and attended Friere Charter his first two years of high school before moving to Florida, where he lived with other relatives and starred at William T. Dwyer High in Palm Beach.

"I wanted a change, and I wanted to get away," Ramon Galloway said. "I was looking for some structure."

He found that structure, eventually earning all-state honors. Galloway then attended the University of South Carolina, playing in the pressure cooker of the Southeastern Conference. As a sophomore he started four games and still averaged 24.5 minutes and 10.7 points.

Things seemed to be going well, but Galloway sensed he was needed elsewhere, and the NCAA granted him a hardship waiver so he didn't have to sit out the year after transferring from South Carolina.

His father and mother, Karen Davis, missed him, and most of all his grandfather, Carlus Moore, needed help. Moore, who is Karen Davis' father, needs a liver transplant and had trouble getting around. Having his grandson come home brightened his outlook on life.

"I was really about gone, almost left this earth," Moore said. "When he came back and was around the family, it sparked me up."

Davis, who never married Gerald Galloway but remains close to him, said her son has helped keep the family together.

"I am very proud of how mature he has become, and he is there for us," she said. "He is strong and a very dedicated man."

Moore offered that his grandson was homesick, and his mother suggested the same. Maybe it's his rough roots, but Ramon Galloway wouldn't admit that.

"I've never been homesick," he said.

Still, he said he felt it was just right that he came back.

"My family needed me here," he said.

The family has had its share of ups and downs. Gerald Galloway has 10 children ages 9 to 29, including two with Ramon's mother.

Their other son, Gerald K., is incarcerated for robbery, but his father said he recently earned his GED and has been motivated by his brother's success.

"Ramon has gone through so much adversity, but he has always kept his focus," his father said.

Ramon Galloway, who has a 3-year-old son in Florida named Ramon Galloway Jr., is seen as a potential player in the NBA or an overseas league. He is a dogged defender, but his offense can leave him at times.

While there are many reasons for the remarkable turnaround in the La Salle program, the addition of Galloway is at the top of the list. Before his arrival in 2011-12, La Salle's last 20-win season was in 1992, when the Explorers last competed in the NCAA tournament.

Last year, in his first season, La Salle went 21-13 and competed in the NIT. Now the Explorers are in the NCAAs.

"He got here my sophomore year, and he was the one missing piece," said junior point guard Tyreek Duren, whose team was 15-18 the year before Galloway's arrival. "He's the one who keeps us together."

Contact Marc Narducci at mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.

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